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GOP asks that state put Fisher on ballot

The Massachusetts Republican Party asked the state Monday to certify Tea Party movement activist Mark R. Fisher as a candidate for governor, as the party seeks to end a tumultuous fight that had divided its ranks and drained its resources.

In a three-sentence letter to the secretary of state’s office, Kirsten Hughes, the party chairwoman, and Rebecca Levesque, its convention secretary, said Fisher’s name should be added to the list of candidates already submitted for the GOP primary ballot in September.

The party’s letter followed a Suffolk Superior Court judge’s recommendation last week that a lawsuit brought by Fisher be resolved by having his name added to the ballot.


Fisher, a Shrewsbury businessman, had challenged the results of the party’s convention in March, after he narrowly missed qualifying for the primary ballot for governor. He is hoping to take on Charlie Baker, the candidate preferred by the GOP establishment.

Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said the letter was undergoing a routine review. He said Fisher, like other candidates for statewide office, must still submit 10,000 voter signatures next month to qualify for the ballot.

Fisher said he is confident he would clear that threshold and called the party’s letter seeking to have him certified as a candidate “absolutely huge.”

Fisher quickly added, however, that he has no plans to withdraw his lawsuit, although last week Judge Douglas H. Wilkins postponed the trial, which had been scheduled to start June 16.

Fisher said he believes he is still owed monetary damages for his attorney’s fees, the cost of his signature-gathering operation, and for the $25,000 fee he paid to secure a spot as a speaker at the state GOP convention.

Noting that there is “still active litigation,” Emmalee Kalmbach, a spokeswoman for the state party, declined to comment on the party’s letter.


Party officials have been eager to tamp down the election-year fight with Fisher, which had descended into dueling accusations of bribery as party leaders are hoping to focus on loosening the Democrats’ grip on Beacon Hill.

“The litigation has become a distraction to the Republican Party and a drain on its resources, which should be used for the election of its candidates,” the party’s lawyer, Louis M. Ciavarra, wrote in a court motion last week seeking a resolution.

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@
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